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Directory.GetFileSystemEntries Method (String, String, SearchOption)

Returns an array of all the file names and directory names that match a search pattern in a specified path, and optionally searches subdirectories.

Namespace:  System.IO
Assembly:  mscorlib (in mscorlib.dll)

public static string[] GetFileSystemEntries(
	string path,
	string searchPattern,
	SearchOption searchOption
)

Parameters

path
Type: System.String

The relative or absolute path to the directory to search. This string is not case-sensitive.

searchPattern
Type: System.String

The search string to match against the names of files and directories in path. This parameter can contain a combination of valid literal path and wildcard (* and ?) characters (see Remarks), but doesn't support regular expressions.

searchOption
Type: System.IO.SearchOption

One of the enumeration values that specifies whether the search operation should include only the current directory or should include all subdirectories.

The default value is TopDirectoryOnly.

Return Value

Type: System.String[]
An array of file the file names and directory names that match the specified search criteria, or an empty array if no files or directories are found.

ExceptionCondition
ArgumentException

path is a zero-length string, contains only white space, or contains invalid characters. You can query for invalid characters by using the GetInvalidPathChars method.

- or -

searchPattern does not contain a valid pattern.

ArgumentNullException

path is null.

-or-

searchPattern is null.

ArgumentOutOfRangeException

searchOption is not a valid SearchOption value.

DirectoryNotFoundException

path is invalid, such as referring to an unmapped drive.

IOException

path is a file name.

PathTooLongException

The specified path, file name, or combined exceed the system-defined maximum length. For example, on Windows-based platforms, paths must be less than 248 characters and file names must be less than 260 characters.

SecurityException

The caller does not have the required permission.

UnauthorizedAccessException

The caller does not have the required permission.

The order of the returned file and directory names is not guaranteed; use the Sort() method if a specific sort order is required.

searchPattern can be a combination of literal and wildcard characters, but doesn't support regular expressions. The following wildcard specifiers are permitted in searchPattern.

Wildcard specifier

Matches

* (asterisk)

Zero or more characters in that position.

? (question mark)

Zero or one character in that position.

Characters other than the wildcard are literal characters. For example, the searchPattern string "*t" searches for all names in path ending with the letter "t". The searchPattern string "s*" searches for all names in path beginning with the letter "s".

searchPattern cannot end in two periods ("..") or contain two periods ("..") followed by DirectorySeparatorChar or AltDirectorySeparatorChar, nor can it contain any invalid characters. You can query for invalid characters by using the GetInvalidPathChars method.

NoteNote

When you use the asterisk wildcard character in a searchPattern such as "*.txt", the number of characters in the specified extension affects the search as follows:

  • If the specified extension is exactly three characters long, the method returns files with extensions that begin with the specified extension. For example, "*.xls" returns both "book.xls" and "book.xlsx".

  • In all other cases, the method returns files that exactly match the specified extension. For example, "*.ai" returns "file.ai" but not "file.aif".

When you use the question mark wildcard character, this method returns only files that match the specified file extension. For example, given two files, "file1.txt" and "file1.txtother", in a directory, a search pattern of "file?.txt" returns just the first file, whereas a search pattern of "file*.txt" returns both files.

The EnumerateFileSystemEntries and GetFileSystemEntries methods differ as follows: When you use EnumerateFileSystemEntries, you can start enumerating the collection of entries before the whole collection is returned; when you use GetFileSystemEntries, you must wait for the whole array of entries to be returned before you can access the array. Therefore, when you are working with many files and directories, EnumerateFiles can be more efficient.

You can specify relative path information with the path parameter. Relative path information is interpreted as relative to the current working directory, which you can determine by using the GetCurrentDirectory method.

.NET Framework

Supported in: 4.6, 4.5, 4

.NET Framework Client Profile

Supported in: 4

Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows 8, Windows Server 2012, Windows 7, Windows Vista SP2, Windows Server 2008 (Server Core Role not supported), Windows Server 2008 R2 (Server Core Role supported with SP1 or later; Itanium not supported)

The .NET Framework does not support all versions of every platform. For a list of the supported versions, see .NET Framework System Requirements.

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